Saturday, October 29, 2011

9 - Susmesh Chandroth

Deepak, retuning back to the place of his growing years after a gap of 9 years, to attend the funeral and last rights of his maternal grand father. Unable to adjust to the new found closeness and the extra affection from his relatives, he decides to stay in a guest house post the funeral for a few days of retreat. The next 9 days, until he returns to the family home to do the post funeral ceremonies, he decides to stay out of his busy schedule as a fashion photographer in Chennai, away from the crowd , away from the girl who lives with him in Chennai. This sets the book for next 200 pages of his nostalgic remembrance of his place.

From here, until the last few pages, Deepak reminisce about the life and times of the small town 'Thoovanam" in the high ranges of Western Ghats ( Idukki District of Kerala). From the history of early settlers and their descendants from Travancore to the new age materialistic progress of the place over the 30 years since 1970. You see various interesting characters appear through the narratives, often slipping away from the main thread ( of Deepak and his family and his childhood). You see street magicians, traders, farmers, ladies with dubious deeds and reputation, hunters and anti social elements, people who appear for 6 months and then abscond for the next six, the nature in its fury, the naxalites during the 70s, madmen et all. Deepak recollects various incidents that etched in deep sentiments in his young mind during his growing up  years. his own struggle with poverty, with ever wandering father and decaying family fortune of the grand father, despite his high standing social strata.

To me, all it talks is about the life in the high ranges through few individuals. They are described in detail through their life and death. While at few places the narration is very absorbing the story line is feeble and not very convincing. The protagonist is not one that remain with you after the reading. I haven't found anything that is extra ordinary in this book. Well, in the construct of a novel , this fails to impress me despite having some good writing at few places. It lacks in the story line, in the wholesomeness of a novel. Good writing alone does not make a good novel. No characters are rounded or near completion, they are all pedestrian in the narrative. They do not seems to have made any influence of the story. Both the beginning and end chapters are mediocre to say the least.

Susmesh Chandroth is a good short story writer and his first novel "D" have won the DC Books Novel Carnival award ( I haven't read that). But, this is not one of the books I recommend to others.
9 ( 2008 )

Susmesh Chandroth

D C Books

Rs 120/-

223 Pages


Rajeesh.G said...

I also red the novel 9.I find in it the extraordinary connection with the real life of youth(including me).It is true that the writer failed to atract the attention of reader at some places.Otherwise it had gave me a very good reading experience.

Jayan Parameswaran said...

Thanks Rajeesh for your inputs. The book must be good, as many people seems to have liked it. I am glad that it gave you a good reading experience..